“How Long Will It Take to Learn (insert your instrument of choice here)?”
That’s one of the most common questions we’re asked. Beginners want to know that they’ll be able to play something in a reasonable amount of time. They’d like to know how long before they’ll be able to share their playing or singing with a few friends. I have good news! It only takes a short period of time to be able to play a song.
10,000 Hours To Learn Music?
You’ve heard it before. It takes 10,000 hours to learn to do anything. Well, the actual research is about how long it takes to get to a professional level at something. We’d agree with the 10,000 hours idea for professionals. It takes a at least 10,000 hours to even think about becoming a professional player or singer. We’ve worked in the music industry, at a national level for the last 20+ years . All the outstanding players we worked with had worked that hard. None of them had clocked less than 10,000 hours. Most before they’d left high school.
300 Hours To Learn Music?
Very few of our clients are interested in working towards playing professionally. The large majority play for their own enjoyment. For most, it’s a hobby and they have careers outside of the music industry. They’d just like to be able to play the guitar with some friends around the BBQ. Some want to sing with a choir, others to play piano by themselves. At IMA, these are the people we’re extra excited about helping. We want to see more recreational music makers in Australia.
That being said, a lot of our clients like to do their hobby really well. We suggest something like 300 to 500 hours as a benchmark to work towards. Work towards this goal if you’d like to be able to play extremely well for your own enjoyment.
Just clocking 300 hours isn’t going to get you to where you want to go though. That’s where having a great music teacher comes in. You’ve got to use your time wisely and practice the right things with the right technique.
20 Hours To Learn Music!
If you’re starting from scratch, all it takes is about 20 hours. 20 hours to be able to play a simple song. Check out this great TED Talk about 20 hours of practice. We’ve seen people clock 20 hours or more without getting to where they want. They were usually self taught. They hadn’t had the guidance to give them the correct technique to make it easy for them to learn.
How Quickly Do You Want To Get There?
So how long is it actually going to take? It’s pretty straight forward math. If you want it to take:
20 days: Practice for one hour a day.
40 days: Practice for half an hour a day.
What we’d recommend though is something like this:
24 weeks: If you do 6 minutes a day with one half hour lesson a week, it’ll take about 18 weeks. (just over 4 months). We’re allowing for days off here. Also, all the other disruptive things that get in the way of your regular practice.
Everybody is busy. Finding an hour or half an hour per day is difficult in our busy adult lives. We suggest scheduling just 6 minutes a day. You’ll always be able to find 6 minutes somewhere in your schedule. The great thing is that your practice time may blow out into half an hour if you get lost in it. If it doesn’t, at least you’ve done your six minutes practice for the day. Why 6 miutes? We’ll cover that in an upcomming blog post.
Practising everyday is the trick. Music practice is like filling a slowly leaking bucket. If you top it up everyday, you’ll get ahead of the ‘leak’. Once you’re bucket is quite full, you hardly notice the leak at all. It’s all about getting the habits into place to do some regular practise.
Once you do that, learning music becomes a breeze.
We often meet new clients who’ve come to us with some terrible habits. This is thanks to the inexperienced music teachers they’ve started with. To fix the problems, we have to take these clients back to basics. They then have to relearn skills that they thought they’d mastered. Save yourself the wasted time and physical pain. Find yourself an excellent music teacher, not just an OK one.
Music Lesson with an IMA Music Teacher
Why Waste Time
We hear it all the time:
“I wish someone had shown me this ten years ago.”
“Doing it this way is so much easier”
“It doesn’t hurt any more when I play this way.”
Learning an instrument takes time. Having someone teaching you great technique will help you learn a lot faster. You may shave years off becoming a great singer or player.
“I don’t need an amazing music teacher, I’m just starting out.” That’s the sentence that makes me cringe the most. You need the most experienced and awesome music teacher you can get when you’re starting out. Get some great technique in place right from the beginning. It makes everything easier and makes learning faster.
Learn it right once.
Good technique makes it easy from the beginning.
Saxophone Lesson with an IMA Music Teacher
Don’t Risk Injury
If you’re playing or singing, and it hurts, then you’re doing something wrong. The closer you get to completely relaxed, the better your technique is. The more relaxed you are, the less likely you are to injure yourself.
Good technique comes down to having everything in the right place. A great music teacher will have spent countless hours on their own technique. They will have a good knowledge of physiology. Problems that you could encounter will be avoided by having an excellent music teacher.
You can damage yourself (particularly singers) if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Injury can slow your progress a lot.
Singing Lesson with an IMA Music Teacher
The reason we learn music is because we love it. It can be discouraging to not sound like your favourite artists at first. A good music teacher will provide you with the support and encouragement that you need. They’ll also be able to shape a course of lessons to step you towards your musical goals.
Getting there quicker makes it much more fun.
Learning the music you love makes it even more fun!
Find a music teacher who has the experience and knowledge to structure a course just for you.
Piano Lesson with an IMA Music Teacher
Good Music Teachers Will Have An Interest In Your Progress
There are many music teachers out there who are teaching as a way to make some quick cash between gigs. You can spot them because they’re more interested in their playing than yours. They’ll try to get you to learn the music they like rather than teaching you what you want. They’ll be more interested in showing you their playing than helping you improve yours.
Look out for music teachers that are more interested in you than your progress.
Theory Lesson with an IMA Music Teacher
It can be tricky to figure out who is a good or bad music teacher. Particularly if you’ve not ever had lessons before. Teachers offering a free trial are a good start. Have a few different trial lessons with different teachers and compare the difference. Are they discussing your goals? Are they finding out what music you’re interested in learning? Are they concerned with your posture and how you hold the instrument (or your body in the case of singing)? Try not to be influenced by price. Feeling price conscious? Be aware that you could save a lot of money by going with the more expensive teacher. You’ll save yourself a lot of time learning the best way the first time.
Learning to play music is one of the most fulfilling things you can do. Don’t be put off by bad teaching experiences. Find someone great who cares about your music and get started now!
IMA Jam Nights are a great way to get experience performing in front of a friendly, supportive audience of IMA Staff and clients.
What should I know?
That IMA Jam Nights are fun! You don’t have to be nervous or self-conscious as everyone in the audience and on stage are doing exactly what you are. Everyone involved are current or past clients of IMA, so don’t be shy! You can have a chat with anyone there, they’ll know what your talking about when it comes to performing for the first time in front of an audience.
You should be able to play along with a recording of the song you want to perform, without stopping.
Check with your IMA Mentor and have them help you choose a piece that works for you. You get to choose two pieces from The IMA Jam Night songlist.
Once your mentor has confirmed your song, buy a performers ticket for the Jam Night you’re interested in attending.
Buy your performers ticket at least a week before the Jam Night. Tickets close the Friday night before the jam night so that the IMA Band has enough time to learn your songs.
You might have some friends and family coming along, so make sure that they buy a a general ticket also. General tickets are available up to half an hour before the Jam Night starts.
Not ready to perform yet?
That’s ok! if you’re thinking of performing at an IMA Jam Night in future, come along and be part of the audience. You’ll get a feel for how the night goes and you can be part of the fun and support our great IMA client performers.
As we all know, progress on any musical instrument (or voice) is about regular practice and refinement. The end of year madness can sometimes get in the way of your musical progress, so we’ve created some flexible terms to help you keep your music moving forward over the holidays.
Book all or any of these weeks and keep your lessons going. Only $37 per ½ hour lesson (Kids and Adults):
15th – 20th Dec 2014
22nd – 23rd Dec 2014
5th – 10th Jan 2015
12th – 16th Jan 2015
19th – 24th Jan 2015
Every six months, IMA puts on not one, but two outstanding client concerts. One for over 18s and one for under 18s.
Clients who feel that they’re ready to get up and perform in a safe supportive environment practise one song to performance standard. IMA staff form the backing band, and work incredibly hard to recreate the songs as closely as possible to what’s on the album. This means that our mentors are learning up to 70~80 songs for the two events!
Feedback from our clients and audiences is always incredibly positive. Family and friends of performers are more than welcome and we encourage everybody to stay for the whole event and support every performer who gets on stage.
If you’re an IMA client and you’re don’t feel you’re ready to perform yet, feel free to come along, checkout the great music and see what it’s all about.
This is our second year providing entertainment for the fun run and we’re very proud to be part of such a great cause. We had a great time playing for the thousands of people running past and hopefully giving them an extra bit of energy to get to then end.
We’re very proud to have mentors of such a high standard that we can put them up for any level of gig and know that they’ll able to do the gig exceedingly well.
Yep, we’re back. We’ll be motivating all the wonderful runners who are fundraising for charities at the Bridge to Brisbane again this year by playing LIVE MUSIC around the race track. Don’t forget to put on your dancing shoes.
The charity event is on Sunday the 1st of September. It costs $40 to enter the 10km or $35 for the 5km. There are prizes to be won and T-shirts for participants! Sign up by going to their website.
More info will be coming shortly, but for now, get a sneak peek of our staff performing at the Mother’s Day Classic fun run this year by clicking the picture below:
CLICK HERE to watch our staff playing at the Mother’s Day Classic!
CLICK to watch vocal student Breanne Carr rocking out with the IMA Band at the Beetle Bar
To sum up – these concerts were, without a doubt, one of the the most impressive concert series we have had to date. Our participating clients were outstanding performers, wowing the audience and the IMA staff with their impressive talents.
Across the two concerts, we had clients perform as vocalists and on a multitude of instruments. We even had the pleasure of seeing many vocalists accompany themselves on an instrument, and even a father-son duo!
We would like to congratulate and thank all of the clients who performed on the day for their incredibly entertaining performances. For many, it is amazing to have seen the progress from previous concert performances. For others, it was inspiring to see the confident musician emerge on stage for the first time.
Thank you also to the staff who participated in the running of the concerts and those who played in the IMA band. There were A LOT of songs to learn and the staff took many hours out of their free time to transcribe and learn all the songs so our fabulous clients could have the opportunity to perform.
And, of course, the venues (The Ascot Club and The Beetle Bar) were very kind in allowing us to hold the concerts there, and we are very grateful for the sound technicians who made the performances possible.
For those of you who missed out, there are some videos on our YouTube account (and more to come) of some of the spectacular performances. Click the picture above to view one of our vocal clients or go to our YouTube page to see more videos.